WRV High School hopes to help fill Indiana’s 'fastest growing industry'
White River Valley High School (WRV) hosted both parents and students on Wednesday evening to present information about new course curriculum being offered which enables students to earn college credits for free.
Representatives of Conexus Indiana, several WRV guidance counselors, WRV Guidance Director Amy R. Ruxer and Program Coordinator Scott Wallace of Vincennes University led the meeting which aimed to bring awareness to what Wallace referred to as “a field with endless opportunities.”
According to Jennifer Mann of Conesux Indiana, careers in advanced manufacturing and logistics (AML) are not only some of the most highly paid careers in the state, but also the most highly demanded careers for employees in Indiana.
Referred to as middle skill jobs, Mann said they require more than a high school diploma but less than a four year degree--something which can be obtained through Conexus Indiana’s Hire Tech.
Mann said Hire Tech is a two-year course sequence offering course 4796, Introduction to Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics, and course 5608, Advanced Manufacturing 1.
“Jobs are returning to us because the quality of products made overseas, they need people that can work with robotics and have those special skills--we (Indiana) have more jobs available than we can fill, its an enormous skills gap,” said Mann.
Wallace said the curriculum allows students the opportunity to develop skills for all types of basic machine tools, including computer-operated machines--a high-tech, high-wage career which is currently in high demand.
WRV would be equipped with necessary machines and equipment to allow students hands-on learning in addition to the online course work, according to Wallace.
“Dual credit means students can come out of high school with college credits already under their belt. Worst case scenario, you might take the course and realize it isn’t for you. But, you would still have those college credits you could put towards electives,” said Wallace.
Wallace said he is working with about 15 high schools in the state, and he was thrilled when he heard WRV was interested.
One parent questioned if students would have a guaranteed job through the program.
Wallace said 100 percent of students who seek a career in manufacturing or logistics have been placed in jobs thus far.
“If they didn’t get a job, it was because they decided to go a different route,” said Wallace.
Superintendent Bob Hacker expressed his excitement about the opportunity.
“We have been working on this for awhile, we got the go-ahead from the board and the economic development and I think it is an excellent opportunity. I talked to the owner of Metal Technologies in Bloomfield and he said he would be willing to hire the top four kids every year,” said Hacker.
Another perk of the dual-credit courses is how one can ‘get ahead’ even if he or she chooses to take a different career path once out of high school, according to WRV social studies teacher Eric Carpenter.
Twenty-two year old Carpenter said he benefited from taking dual-credit courses in high school, and was able to graduate with a college degree at age 20.
“Twenty-four credit hours is two semesters, for those who may not know, and that is around $20,000, based on where I went to school. Even if you take those credits and put them toward elective or general education credits you’re that much further--I knew people who took bowling as an elective, you have to take them anyway,” said Carpenter.
According to Conexus Indiana, Indiana’s average annual salary for manufacturing is $72,256, which is $27,450 more than the average compensation of the rest of the workforce.
Students were able to sign up for the new curriculum at the meeting on Wednesday, which drew a large crowd and was held in the school’s cafeteria.
“If your student doesn’t know what they want to do yet, push them into something with the opportunities to make good choices when they do know.” said Wallace.
According to Hacker, the course will be open to WRV students for the first year. Upon becoming a Twin Rivers program, it will open to students of the county.
To learn more about Precision Machining careers, contact Scott Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about signing up for the new curriculum at WRV, contact WRV Guidance Director Amy R. Ruxer at email@example.com or call 812-659-2274 ext. 117
For more information about career options and Hire Tech visit DreamItDoItIndiana.com